Tomorrow there will be some council workers coming to cut down several trees in our backyard. It's unavoidable really - they need to access some sewage pipes that run underground near our back fence.
I went down with my baby sister this afternoon to say goodbye. We'd been sitting down together on the lounge for a while. She kept looking past me, through the window at the trees bending in the breeze. So I carried her out to the garden. We went to the biggest tree first - she touched the rough brown bark and we looked up at the mighty branches above us. Then the neighbour's dogs started yapping at us, so we moved on. We both smelled the fragrant mandarin leaves, then baby looked up at the lovely frangipani tree with her big blue eyes. Its branches are bare and silvery and smooth at this time of the year. When she is older she won't remember the trees - she won't remember the way our garden looks now.
It's hard saying goodbye, but it is also beautiful in a way. I'm so sad to lose them. I wish no living things had to die, but it seems we are all destined to die - people, trees, animals large and small.
The big tree was already starting to die, the frangipani was getting older, and the mandarin tree never bore much fruit. But ultimately, it didn't matter whether or not they were fruitful and functional and did just what we wanted them to do. Their purpose was to bring glory to their Maker: to say "Look at me - I am unique, I am special - I have my own distinct personality, I am beautiful in my own way, and I am a reflection of the might and beauty of my Maker." If any tree inspires someone - even if it be only one person - to turn his or her thoughts towards our Lord, then its life was not wasted.
For everything there is a purpose - even trees.